“The Death of PC Gaming” Bandwagon
The death of PC gaming has been a constant prediction for as long as we can remember. The numerous articles online may feature different evidence and different reasoning, but the conclusions are practically the same: gaming consoles will get better, and PC hardware will have a hard time keeping pace. PC gaming will supposedly die as people abandon it for greener gaming pastures.
Declining PC Gaming Sales
Ars Technica admittedly provides good evidence that PC gaming is in trouble:
In 1998, the PC gaming industry generated 1.8 billion in sales and accounted for 32.72 percent of total video game software sales. The video game software market grew by 72 percent between 1998 and 2007, while PC gaming sales have consistently decreased every single year in both relative and absolute terms [generating only $900M].
Gaming Consoles’ Capabilities
It’s quite tempting to look at modern gaming consoles like the Xbox and PS3, be amazed at their capabilities, and call PC gaming dead. Whether it’s the unorthodox controls of the Nintendo Wii, or the ultra-realistic graphics of console-only games like the NBA 2K series, the specialized hardware of consoles provide their owners with gaming experiences that are practically impossible to have on the PC.
At the same time, gaming consoles have become even more popular as their baseline prices have dropped. More people are buying them, simple because they are much more affordable.
Apples and Oranges?
But PCs also provide an experience that’s very hard, if not impossible, to replicate on a gaming console. Have you ever tried playing Half-Life on the PC, then on the PlayStation 2? We can tell you that controlling and aiming is much easier on the PC. Comparing PC and console gaming could be like comparing apples and oranges.
And, like their console counterparts, PCs are becoming cheaper. Despite computerandvideogames.com publishing that “high-end PCs are so expensive that your grandchildren will be making the repayments”, powerful PC gaming platforms are more budget-friendly nowadays.
Case in point: a Dell XPS M1330, designed as a gaming laptop, can cost less than $1000 yet still have the hardware necessary to play the latest PC games. $1000 is obviously more than the $400 price tag of the PS3, but the PC continues to distinguish itself by its versatility,
It’s Still About the Gameplay and Game Creators
But even the above points are overshadowed by one reality: people only play games they like. The gaming industry is full of examples where a game, no matter how good it looks, ultimately fails because it lacked compelling gameplay.
The point is that, people will continue playing games on a particular platform so long as there are games worth playing. Here’s where the PC’s versatility ensures the life of gaming on it: it’s still the only platform where independent creators can make a game that people want to play. This is unlike the console industry, which tends to place more focus on production values (unfortunately sometimes at the cost of compelling gameplay).
In short, even if big game makers eventually abandon the PC for more lucrative platforms, there will still be people on the PC who make games for their fellow users, thanks to the versatility made possible by the PC. This alone ensures that PC gaming will never die, because there will always be someone creative enough to take advantage of the PC’s versatility to create good games that people want to play.
This entry was posted on Thursday, May 15th, 2008 at 4:16 pm and is filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.